Sunday, January 5, 2020

Mail Art at the Getty

They currently are having a mail art exhibit at the Getty in Los Angeles.  You will not find a mail art show on their website.  The curators are not describing the work as mail art but it is there as part of the show Manet and Modern Beauty.  
The exhibit begins with a gallery full of Manet’s dough-faced portraits.  The highlight in the gallery is not a portrait but a painting of a plate of oysters.  Are we allowed to make fun of any Manet portrait?  I clearly was in the minority – the gallery was packed with visitors stepping over themselves to gawk and photograph.  
In the next gallery the crowds thin and you find delicate watercolors along with Manet’s illustrated letters sent from Bellevue.  Manet the impressionist, and Manet the Mail Artist.  The exhibit continues with a gallery filled with flawless still lives of fruit and flowers.  With exception of Georgia O’Keeffe, I don’t usually get excited about paintings of flowers.  The trick with Manet is look at vases. Manet’s crystal vases are magic, pure magic.

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